Fear -- Part 3, Anger -- Part 1

Originally published 5/28/10

Revenge may be a dish best served cold -- I wouldn't know about that. Reflection is also a dish best served cold, or perhaps 'detached' rather than 'cold' is a better way to think of it.

In two previous blog entries, I talked about Fear. How fear permeated so much of what I did at work. How fear negatively motivated me. How I had a kind of love-hate relationship with fear.

After nearly 9 weeks away from the source of the fear, I'm very aware of its influence and its and the degree to which it engulfed me. Even when I had the financial ability to quit work, I still was driven by fear of criticism, failure, labeling, and fear of so many other things.

In the last 9 weeks I've also become more aware of another negative emotion that was present in large quantities while I was working -- anger. Anger can be a useful emotion, when it drives us to act decisively and effectively. But like a lot of emotions -- too much of a useful or good thing can be bad. And I now know that I had to much of it.

My anger was mostly suppressed when I worked. But suppressed emotions need to find ways to escape. I had a few methods of coping.

1. Risk taking -- hey, I wasn't white water rafting the Zambizi River, or hiking in the backcountry in Canyonlands just because it was fun.

2. Escaping on trips -- to focus on something exclusively, and put aside the things causing the anger.

3. Listening to hard driving music -- I'd scream my lungs out in the car sometimes to let off steam.

4. A short fuse at home -- unfair as it was, I was transferring anger to my family.

5. Complaining -- my apologies to those whose ears I bent unwillingly to listen to a rant over something. I was more aware of this outlet than any of them, and tried to at least moderate it some....

So what caused the anger? I'm not as sure about that. Feeling trapped, perhaps? Any kind of criticism leveled in any but the softest way? Feeling unappreciated for having to deal with the Fear? Probably a bit of all these.

And don't think these feelings just dry up and go away the minute that the source is removed. My emotional reactions to the world developed over a pretty long period, during which there was very little deep change in my life. Those patterns will take some time to wear down and change. But I can feel them beginning to thaw now after 9 weeks away.

Here's to a fear reduced and anger reduced future!